Bourbon County plans for possible Coronavirus outbreak

Bourbon County's emergency manager discusses a Coronavirus action plan

“What’s the chances of it happening here? It’s kind of like saying, ‘What’s the chances of a tornado hitting Bourbon County?’ It’s there,” said Bourbon County’s emergency manager.

Bourbon County Emergency Manager William Wallis isn’t taking any chances when it comes to the Coronavirus, and he’s already established a task force comprised of local medical professionals to help develop a Coronavirus action plan.

“I don’t want to alert or alarm the community. I just want them to know that me and all the professionals that are looking into this are going to be preparing a plan,” said Wallis.

Wallis says that plan is in its infancy, but his 6 years as an emergency manager and 12 years working with FEMA have helped him get on the right track.

The task force’s top concern is the safe handling of potential virus victims.

“We want to pick a place we can quarantine them and not remove them from the county, not put them in an environment that would become hazardous to someone else, but yet, let us closely monitor them,” said Wallis.

Wallis has also spoken to Fort Scott police about potentially providing security if a quarantine is needed.

“The security we would put in place would allow people to bring them stuff,” said Wallis.

Other task force concerns include the procurement of protective equipment for doctors and nurses, support equipment for virus victims, and funding to pay for it all should a disaster happen. Wallis says obtaining funds would start with county commissioners declaring a disaster and end with help from the white house.

“That particular disaster would be sent to Washington, D.C., the president has his own council that signs the declaration, and then he signs it, and it becomes a Stafford Act declaration, and that’s where the money comes from,” said Wallis.